One of the patterns that I've noticed showing up persistently at RPG.se is what I'll call, for lack of a better term, Low Quality Question Fatigue. The LQQF pattern is visible as the appearance of unusually stringent voting standards being applied to questions asked by certain citizens. The details vary, but it can be downvoting, withholding upvotes, or unusual close-voting (often in combination with slow reopen voting).
This pattern seems to be an emergent community response to a string of questions that seem to be lacking something, whether that's research, writing effort, effort at clarity, putting thought into what exactly the problem is, or… something else indefinable. A few questions like this are just the bread and butter of RPG.se, but the LQQF response kicks in when someone's string of questions continues with no apparent improvement over time.
Is this a problem?
Yes. And also no.
On the one hand, we want questions to be judged fairly, and we naturally expect that a consistent standard is part of fair judgement.
On the other hand, the community's collective “gut sense” of a question is what we're here to harvest via all these voting mechanisms. Though it often looks like we operate by rules and precedent (and we do in part — see the previous hand's point), we develop, refine, and redefine what “quality” means by observing our emergent judgments and the good (or bad) they do for the site.
In some ways, the collective is smarter than the individual citizens. The LQQF pattern is an interesting aspect of that: consistent quality-impaired questions over time are penalised, not on their individual merits as strict fairness would expect, but on their growing effect on the site as a set. That's a clever bit of emergent optimisation for pearls that we can kinda appreciate.
And sometimes the collective's decisions aren't so smart — or, more accurately I think, just need more time to fully emerge in a final “steady state”. The “guts” initial reaction isn't always right, even if their input is valuable and interesting. If the squooshy inarticulable sense of the community is the “guts”, I suppose we can think of the strong impulse towards overt rules-based fairness could be called the community's “superego”.
In this case, I think what happened was a Low Quality Question Fatigue reaction took hold and squashed that question, because the community is tired of something at the gut level (it's always hard to tell exactly what, it not being a unitary individual we can just ask) and it pushed back against that something it detected in this question. But the substance of the question seems fine from the view of fair judgement, and with a bit of light shone on it the “superego” is overturning what the “gut” had chosen.
Today*, the rational mind of the community wins out, and I think it's the right outcome for this question, as you obviously already do. In the next case of LQQF the visceral mind of the community might be the smarter one and reveal a problem our precedents don't handle.
So I suppose this is another installment in d7's series on “The System is Working as Intended, Trust the System.”
* For the moment, at least. It is still early say whether “leave open” is the eventual steady state for this question.